How custom is customized marketing?

by Brian Key

During the financial crisis of 2008 and since, many companies have considered ways to reduce expenses while maintaining their marketing efforts. Some companies have brought marketing in-house, while others have looked for cost-effective ways to outsource their marketing.

With either option, many companies started looking for online services/solutions to handle or assist those specific efforts, and in many cases these rely on templates. This leads to the confusion many marketing and communications people have…how do you define custom marketing? Is tweaking templates really custom marketing?

I want to take a moment to share some impacts that templates can have on your marketing in the long-term. In many ways, these “cost-effective” templated solutions can actually increase time and cost.

Website Design – Many companies have employed self-service or custom-template web services to help them build their websites. This seems simple at first, but can become time-consuming and add work to your staff’s already busy load. Once you choose a template or begin to customize a template – one that thousands of other companies are using – you’re not done. You then have to become your own photographer, copywriter and search engine optimization (SEO) expert, not to mention a technology guru to get the website live and drive traffic to it.

Email Blast Templates – There are reliable email distribution services available that provide hundreds of preprogrammed templates for you to build your own email blast and distribute to a selected group. After choosing the preprogrammed template, you have to make sure it incorporates your brand personality, meets your communication strategy and drives results for your business. Seems simple, right? When your team is already stretched thin, this can be a daunting task. The channel to get your message out may be easy to use, but crafting the appropriate message is the key element here.

Design Templates – Between online services and design software, templates for brochures, direct mail, posters, ads and other design-related items are plentiful online. These are the same tools your competitors have access to, along with the rest of the public. What the templates do not include are the strategy and content for each piece that make them unique to your brand. For design to be used effectively and produce results-driven work, it should be guided by an overarching plan specific to your company’s marketing goals.

Content Marketing Templates – Content marketing goes beyond social media development. Today, content development impacts your website, press releases, blogs, case studies, social media communications, video stories and more. In your current role, do you have the time to research and write for each medium while targeting the appropriate person to engage with your brand? In my experience, it has been tough for companies to hire a single person who can conceptualize and develop copy for each medium on an ongoing basis.

Marketing Plan Templates – With a quick search online, you can find many marketing plan templates to choose from. While these will help get your business started, over the long-term you’ll need to work with a strategic marketing consultant to identify your opportunities, help define and target your audience, analyze competitors’ marketing and formulate a plan to communicate the right message to the right people at the right times. This is where a team of marketing and creative professionals can give your business momentum. An integrated plan carefully timed and synchronized with your brand story will require a talented team working together.

Since 1999, Copperwing has developed design-driven strategic marketing and communications materials for local, regional and national clients. Each logo, letterhead, brochure, ad, direct mail piece, website, email blast, exhibit and marketing plan is unique and customized to each company we work with. And because every company, industry, communication medium and market is unique, it makes sense to have a team of designers and strategic thinkers in place who know how to leverage it all for your brand and message. Let me know if we can assist you with any of your branding or creative needs at

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